Zelda’s Future Heading Skyward or Disappearing in the Twilight?

When Link was first introduced in 1986, fans literally had no idea what our Master Sword-wielding, Octorok-killing hero would accomplish in the years to come. As years passed, new Zelda titles were released, and with each one, the legend of the young adventurer became stronger and stronger with each new console he was introduced on. Of course now, the Legend of Zelda series has become one of Nintendo’s mainstay franchises, as it is arguably the most popular Nintendo franchise next to the infamous Mario Brothers.

As gamers have seen, the series has come a long way since its basic, simple days on the NES. As mentioned before, each Zelda title seemed to outdo its predecessor by adding a new dimension of gameplay and fun to Zelda’s world and ours, but the pinnacle for Link and friends came when they were introduced into the 3D world in Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. Highly regarded as one of the best games in video game history, Nintendo has been on a soul-searching journey since then to follow up the popular title. Thus, resulting in what you might consider a really confusing timeline coupled with two Zelda universes vastly different from one another. One of those worlds offers a classic look at Link as the serious but lovable hero, and the other as a sometimes criticized more tooney Link with many similar attributes. The two worlds have still remained popular among fans, but the question remains to be asked–is Zelda losing its steam? The Zelda games since OOT have been great, but they haven’t measured up to its consistent popularity and success.

Now, with Skyward Sword being released on Nov. 20, the two Zelda universes collide, and GameZone wonders if anything will really change. Is it just us or does the series have a least a few things that are getting a little stale and boring?

A few things came to mind when thinking about the character from his introduction on the NES to now, with his most recent title on the Nintendo Wii. With technology being what it was in 1986, it is understandable Nintendo didn’t have Link saying much of anything.  When he did, it was in text or just a sigh or small shout. Now that we are in 2011, I feel as if fans would like a deeper look into whom Link really is.  What better way to do that than to integrate voice acting in future Zelda titles. Although this is a touchy subject among fans in the Zeldasphere (many players like the strong, silent Link), voice acting sometimes creates a deeper experience for the player and could offer a new dimension of gameplay in a series that has never offered voice acting.

Another section of the gameplay that has been extremely popular is the instrument integration in Zelda titles. In Ocarina of Time, Link uses an ocarina to help him throughout his journey. In Wind Waker, he uses his wind waker to control the wind.  In his newest title, Skyward Sword, he will use the Goddess harp to help him save the world. As the helpful instruments have become a staple of Zelda games, is it necessary to keep putting them into each new Zelda Nintendo puts out? By allowing the musical instruments to remain a recurring part of the series, it will continue to offer up a reminder of Ocarina of Time and how truly ahead of its time it really was. Why not take the instruments out? As long as you have them in as a part of the gameplay, each and every Zelda will then be compared to their poster child, OOT.

Another aspect to Zelda games that could bring a more in-depth experience would be to offer more pre-rendered cut scenes. We can all agree Link has had some of the best adventures and some of the best stories ever seen in a game, but why not take it to the next level with more cut scenes, which would immerse the player even more into the land of Hyrule.

That being said, The Legend of Zelda sometimes gets thrown into the conversation of being such a classic that it doesn’t need updating. As classic as it might be, why not take one shot at updating the beloved series with many aspects modern games absolutely have to have in order to stay on the top.

Although the Legend of Zelda series is nowhere close to stale according to many fans, it still could be much more improved than it currently is. So, we shall still put on our green caps, triforce shirts, and wield our favorite Master Sword prop in hopes that Zelda can return to its former glory days with each future game becoming better than the one before it.